faith

9/28/2015 means 11 years of recovery – thank you universe

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“You’re not stuck in traffic, you are the traffic.” “Right now, you are both the youngest you’ll ever be again and the oldest you’ve ever been.” “You have no friends. You have no enemies. You only have teachers.” “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” ~ Lao Tzu “Never attribute a person’s level of intelligence to the amount of money in their paycheck.” “You’re a ghost driving a meat-coated skeleton made from stardust.” “When fascism comes to America [etc], it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” ~ Ian MacLaren (widely misattributed to Plato) “Be the Change you wish to see in the World.” ~ (Not) Gandhi
“You’re not stuck in traffic, you are the traffic.”
“Right now, you are both the youngest you’ll ever be again and the oldest you’ve ever been.”
“You have no friends. You have no enemies. You only have teachers.”
“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” ~ Lao Tzu
“Never attribute a person’s level of intelligence to the amount of money in their paycheck.”
“You’re a ghost driving a meat-coated skeleton made from star dust.”
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”
“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” ~ Ian MacLaren (widely misattributed to Plato)
“Be the Change you wish to see in the World.” ~ (Not) Gandhi
when i started the recovery journey at 46, i had few (if any) expectations about where it may take me. frankly, i didn’t expect much as i had been such a shoddy marksman when it came to working out anything in my life that i dared not hope for much at all. i had long before crossed every line i  had drawn no matter the cost, mostly to keep myself from seeing my true image in the mirror.

in these 11 years, i have seen my world evolve . i have looked back without fear. i have let go of some ancient and toxic thinking. i have been able to forgive myself for so much and forgive others too. i have focused on working with others. i have learned about honesty and am still trying to embrace it. i have trusted myself enough once in awhile to lean in to life instead of running away. here is an excerpt from a book titled “faith, hope, and courage” which has inspired me all eleven of these years.

“Reaching Out”


“I made it into this Program because someone else worked their Twelfth Step on me. Someone passed it on to me. Someone was out there after they got clean and sober, caring about others. I need to never, ever forget that. Had they simply gone on with their lives and forgotten about people like me who were still out there using and suffering, I wouldn’t be here today. My gratitude begins with that fact. It is with that gratitude in mind that I reach out to others, especially the newcomers. I need to have them in my life. That is where my spirituality begins.

For me, spirituality comes from caring about others. I have found that the more I focus on improving the quality of the lives of others, the less I am into myself and my will. I feel a freedom and peace from within. The gifts I am beginning to receive in my life are greater than I could have ever imagined.

Something else I have done is that I have forgiven myself. I have forgiven myself for being an addict. I have forgiven myself for all the damage I did to my life, to my physical health, and to my career and finances. But most of all, I have forgiven myself for all of the horrible, negative and unloving things I have felt about myself. It was not until I offered and accepted my own forgiveness, that I was truly able to grow in my sobriety.”

i have so many to thank for this grace in saying 11 years sober without whom my life would never have seen me here. everyday is proof that miracles are real. and everyday i get to work on coloring inside the lines while i draw outside them.

May I be well, happy, and peaceful.
May my teachers be well, happy, and peaceful.
May my parents be well, happy, and peaceful.
May my relatives be well, happy, and peaceful.
May my friends be well, happy, and peaceful.
May the indifferent persons be well, happy, and peaceful.
May the unfriendly persons be well, happy, and peaceful
May all meditators be well, happy, and peaceful.
May all beings be well, happy, and peaceful.

 

 

if i only had a brain

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A Parable on Populism (and American Monetary Policy)  This popular and well-documented reading sees The Wizard of Oz as being about the collapse of the Populist Movement in the United States at the turn of the twentieth century. In this scenario, Dorothy represents the common citizen, the Tin Man is the industrial worker, the Scarecrow is a stand-in for farmers, and the Cowardly Lion is politician William Jennings Bryan (seen by many at the time as being all talk and no action). They travel along the Yellow Brick Road (the gold standard) to see the Wizard, who could represent President Grover Cleveland or William McKinley. (“Oz” itself is the abbreviation for ounce, which is the standard for measuring gold. The green of the Emerald City represents the dollar.) The Wicked Witch of the East represents bankers, and the Wicked Witch of the West — who, remember, gets killed by water — is drought. This theory, first put forth in the sixties by a high-school teacher named Henry Littlefield (whose original essay you can read here), has since been debunked, yet still maintains a hold over many.**** reposted from vulture.com
A Parable on Populism (and American Monetary Policy)
This popular and well-documented reading sees The Wizard of Oz as being about the collapse of the Populist Movement in the United States at the turn of the twentieth century. In this scenario, Dorothy represents the common citizen, the Tin Man is the industrial worker, the Scarecrow is a stand-in for farmers, and the Cowardly Lion is politician William Jennings Bryan (seen by many at the time as being all talk and no action). They travel along the Yellow Brick Road (the gold standard) to see the Wizard, who could represent President Grover Cleveland or William McKinley. (“Oz” itself is the abbreviation for ounce, which is the standard for measuring gold. The green of the Emerald City represents the dollar.) The Wicked Witch of the East represents bankers, and the Wicked Witch of the West — who, remember, gets killed by water — is drought. This theory, first put forth in the sixties by a high-school teacher named Henry Littlefield (whose original essay you can read here), has since been debunked, yet still maintains a hold over many.**** reposted from vulture.com
(Scarecrow)
I could wile away the hours
Conferrin’ with the flowers
Consultin’ with the rain
And my head I’d be scratchin’
While my thoughts were busy hatchin’
If I only had a brain

I’d unravel any riddle
For any individ’le
In trouble or in pain

(Dorothy)
With the thoughts you’d be thinkin’
You could be another Lincoln
If you only had a brain

(Scarecrow)
Oh, I would tell you why
The ocean’s near the shore
I could think of things I never thunk before
And then I’d sit and think some more

I would not be just a nuffin’
My head all full of stuffin’
My heart all full of pain
I would dance and be merry
Life would be a ding-a-derry
If I only had a brain

progress… not perfection

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The present moment contains past and future. The secret of transformation, is in the way we handle this very moment. — Thich Nhat Hanh – Understanding Our Mind
The present moment
contains past and future.
The secret of transformation,
is in the way we handle this very moment.
— Thich Nhat Hanh – Understanding Our Mind

 

we only see as deeply as we look. even then, we have no guarantee that we will really see.

i certainly realize how easily it is to look past things that cause me discomfort because the fear of the unknown beneath that is more powerful. even when life seems so painful the way it is, there are many times i would rather endure than risk not knowing what’s next.

faith definitely helps with this, but it doesn’t erase it. lately i have been referring to the white lies i tell myself and other as “flash cards” that i have preprinted and hold up as answers sometimes when having a conversation about the truth i don’t feel ready to face.

a big part of the work in front of me is to become aware when i am using flash cards instead of being authentic. sounds easy i know, but lemme tell you it ain’t at all. i am an accomplished storyteller and faker.

“It Takes A Lot To Know A Man”

It takes a lot to know a man
It takes a lot to understand
The warrior, the sage
The little boy enraged

It takes a lot to know a woman
A lot to understand what’s humming
The honeybee, the sting
The little girl with wings

It takes a lot to give, to ask for help
To be yourself, to know and love what you live with
It takes a lot to breathe, to touch, to feel
The slow reveal of what another body needs

It takes a lot to know a man
A lot to know, to understand
The father and the son
The hunter and the gun

It takes a lot know a woman
A lot to comprehend what’s coming
The mother and the child
The muse and the beguiled

It takes a lot to give, to ask for help
To be yourself, to know and love what you live with
It takes a lot to breathe, to touch, to feel
The slow reveal of what another body needs

It takes a lot to give, to ask for help
To be yourself, to know and love what you live with
It takes a lot to breathe, to touch, to feel
The slow reveal of what another body needs

It takes a lot to live, to ask for help
To be yourself, to know and love what you live with
It takes a lot to breathe, to touch, to feel
The slow reveal of what another body needs

What are you so afraid to lose?
What is it you’re thinking that will happen if you do?
What are you so afraid to lose?
(You wrote me to tell me you’re nervous and you’re sorry)
What is it you’re thinking that will happen if you do?
(Crying like a baby saying “this thing is killing me”)
What are you so afraid to lose?
(You wrote me to tell me you’re nervous and you’re sorry)
What is it you’re thinking that will happen if you do?
(Crying like a baby saying “this thing is killing me”)
You wrote me to tell me you’re nervous and you’re sorry
Crying like a baby saying “this thing is killing me”

feeling good

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“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” ~Charles R. Swindoll
“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” ~Charles R. Swindoll

Every bad experience, painful relationship, and compromise you’ve ever made in good conscience will somehow transform into a beautiful inner reservoir of spiritual gifts and blessings.

Life wants you to take notice of three things when you’re going through a difficult time that may seem eternal:

Trust life. There’s a higher purpose behind every seemingly impossible and difficult phase. You’ve just got to hang in there and know that it’s for the best.

Change. If you find yourself feeling bad a lot more often than not, take time out to reflect on whether or not you’re happy deep down with what you’re doing.

Believe. Believe in yourself, even if the world around you doesn’t. If you don’t, who will?

Hold onto what you believe in. You’re meant to emerge as a beautiful butterfly from your chrysalis. Always remember that, with a smile, and give yourself a chance to delight and revel in the mysterious workings of the universe.

it’s a new dawn

it’s a new day

and i’m feeling good.

sunsets, nostalgia, and the promise of a new day

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“Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it.”  ― Ray Bradbury
“Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it.”
― Ray Bradbury

as a result of my recent resignation from the workplace, an ask of direction as well as intention seems a good next step. one could wonder if perhaps i might have benefitted from taking the time to do this seriously prior to stepping through the next appearing doorway. but that particular hindsight may have no influence here.

this blog falls under the purview of this next step. started blogging during my 3rd year of recovery about 2006. it was fun then taking on a new hobby. it felt clunky and i didn’t have a road map. there were online communities and instructions, but that is not how i have ever learned a skill (this trait still holds true). i remember when i got my first comment on my blog from a fellow blogger from idaho who was struggling with some similar issues as well as  struggling with his life choices. it is an instant recall to muster the excitement and validation i felt when some unknown soul from outside my own personal universe connected with my journey. i was hooked and soon i had fashioned a support network of seekers from around the globe which was less demanding and intimate than my friends in real life. it extended my outreach and influence, while at the same time i stunted my emotional growth experience.

but as my recovery journey emanated beyond the blog-o-sphere  and co-mingled with my career path my inspiration and artistic freedom shrank. although blogging remains a vital spiritual practice for me, the profile of this practice has diminished these 8 years. the output is restricted to internal struggles, the organically embedded love of music woven through me, and reposted images and graphics. many times, i find myself sitting in front of the keyboard engaging in a sort of improvisational blogging, drawing inspiration from a found jpg or png, or a swirling few tidbits of a newly discovered or recently remembered melody or lyric. it is mostly rote and completely routine providing more reassurance to me than release. i am more connected with the process than i am with the content. it has become more objectively introspective than externally exploration and  provides the sustenance of a snack now than the meal it served up at the start of it all. i now possess a sense of ownership rather than the inspiration i once knew.

i long for a rekindling of my spiritual connectedness to this process. i continue to resonate with a life built upon shame based trauma. it is a reflection of my own story, but i don’t seem to have gained insight by a continued stream of internal review.

just as it became appropriate to transition from journalling about addiction, treatment, hiv, meth, and rogue sexual ideology to the more reflective topic of long-term recovery, it  now seems time to channel a new muse.

i am unsure if i am too weathered to begin all over. i long to use personally generated graphics and images at least as a philosophy and a cornerstone of my product. it seems imperative to extend my view outward and process my experience from an evolved vantage point.

 

while my life ….gently weeps

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I had spent years adjusting to the idea of dying. I made piece with dying as I sat beside my dying lover’s bed and gave him permission to go. When I was dying and everyone around me was dying I had a purpose. My crisis came I realized that I might live another 25 or 35 years. It also felt like we were being swept under the rug. People wanted to forget about AIDS and we survivors were reminders. But I took a handful of pills everyday to keep alive. AIDS was and is a daily fact of life for me. Most mental health professionals treat depression, anxiety, sleep disorders as unrelated and not the natural response to a long, sustained trauma. Living with so much death while preparing to die young for a quarter of century fucks with your head. I remember the day that saw a piece on TV about vets and PTSD. I couldn’t stop crying. Could my reactions be post traumatic stress-related? After years of feeling out of control things began to make sense. My therapist thought I might be on to something. It was not until I began sharing my story that I realized that I wasn’t the only one stumped by survival.... spenser cox
I had spent years adjusting to the idea of dying. I made piece with dying as I sat beside my dying lover’s bed and gave him permission to go. When I was dying and everyone around me was dying I had a purpose. My crisis came I realized that I might live another 25 or 35 years. It also felt like we were being swept under the rug. People wanted to forget about AIDS and we survivors were reminders. But I took a handful of pills everyday to keep alive. AIDS was and is a daily fact of life for me.
Most mental health professionals treat depression, anxiety, sleep disorders as unrelated and not the natural response to a long, sustained trauma. Living with so much death while preparing to die young for a quarter of century fucks with your head. I remember the day that saw a piece on TV about vets and PTSD. I couldn’t stop crying. Could my reactions be post traumatic stress-related? After years of feeling out of control things began to make sense. My therapist thought I might be on to something. It was not until I began sharing my story that I realized that I wasn’t the only one stumped by survival…. spencer cox

late october some 29 years ago, i was a very different guy. i had just spent a couple of years helping a group of friends open an after hours club in chicago and had on of the biggest rides of my life. within this framework, i also spent a year witnessing one of my best friends get sucked into the void by the omnipresent eradicator of our generation.

melancholy sweeps over this guy every year at this time because there was a reckoning. a tsuname. a volcano eruption. an earthquake. the aids holocaust is well documented and there seems no need to duplicate that here.

besides, i am not well-equipped nor prepared to discuss any  facts or data because i was in the middle of them all and way too close to be impartial. what i can be sure of is my ongoing surprise and humility at survival. also what remains is a braided tapestry of emotion, memory, impression, and broken dreams.

beyond the idea that “life is what happens while you’re busy making plans”, there is the “alice in wonderland” metaphor. once one makes a decision to go down the rabbit hole, i am now convinced that one can never go back. not really.

i continue to struggle with survival and success. partially i resent even struggling at all, and at the same time have grown an outer shell that whittles “average” struggle into grist for the mill. i may have felt the heat of dante’s inferno and developed a thicker skin.

let’s acknowledge here that we have all survived- certainly not just me. mine is merely one tale. it is only one dot within the enirity of the work of george seraut. all of this rambling reinforces for me the idea that we don’t know where we are going at all. we think we know so much when we are younger. we are damn sure that life is just as we see it and as we understand it. but life has a way of revealing to us in its own time that what we know is dwarfed by what we don’t know. the revelation of what i didn’t know is what brought me to my knees in this life. it woke me up and invited me to feel again.

late october some 29 years ago, i fainted in the middle of an aerobics class. in my heart, i understood that the plague had entered my life. i thought i knew what the outcome would be. but i had no idea.

I look at you all see the love there that’s sleeping
While my guitar gently weeps
I look at the floor and I see it needs sweeping
Still my guitar gently weeps
I don’t know why nobody told you how to unfold your love
I don’t know how someone controlled you
They bought and sold you.

I look at the world and I notice it’s turning
While my guitar gently weeps
With every mistake we must surely be learning
Still my guitar gently weeps
I don’t know how you were diverted
You were perverted too
I don’t know how you were inverted
No one alerted you.

I look at you all see the love there that’s sleeping
While my guitar gently weeps
Look at you all . . .
Still my guitar gently weeps.

 

when it doubt ….. try backtracking

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“There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.”
“There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.”